World's largest Iranian festival comes to Toronto

July 7, 2013

Home to a large population of Iranian immigrants, Toronto, Canada will soon host a most rewarding experience for anyone curious or interested in Iranian culture. This summer (July 18 - 21) more than 120,000 enthusiasts are expected to attend Tirgan Festival on Toronto’s lakefront to celebrate Iranian art, culture and diversity. As in previous festivals in 2006, 2008 and 2011, Tirgan 2013 will remain true to Tirgan’s ancient roots in showcasing the tremendous ethnic diversity within Iran by celebrating the country’s music, dance, theatre, cinema, literature, the visual arts and culinary cuisine.

Tirgan 2013, July 18-21, Toronto, Canada

Most events are free, such as dance performances, music concerts, exhibitions, film screenings, cooking demonstrations, and children's activities. The public can also visit the Iranian Bazaar (traditional flea market), Taste of Iran (food tasting) and Traditional Persian Tea house. A select list of events can be found on's local event calendar for Toronto (link), or by searching under keyword Tirgan in's search box. The complete list of Free and ticketed events is shown on the festival's official website (link).

Among these year's attendees are Canadian officials, as well as Firouz Naderi (NASA), Anousheh Ansari (first civilian woman in space), Shirin Neshat (film maker), and performers such as Hamed Nikpay, Rana Mansour, Shahrokh Moshkinghalam, Sepideh Raissadat, Maneli Jamal, Blurred Vision, and Nimeha.

The 2013 festival, with a central theme of Hope, is organized by Iranian Canadian Centre for Art and Culture (ICCAC), a not-for-profit, non-partisan and non-religious organization in collaboration with the Harbourfront Centre. is acknowledged as a media affiliate in this year's festival.

Quick Facts about the Festival

Confirmed Artists: 150+

Number of Volunteers: 300+

Free Performances: 80+

Number of expected Visitors: 120,000

The ancient origins of Tirgan

There are many legends on the origins of Tirgan. One is associated with the legend of the arrow (Tir), a reference to ‘Arash of the swift arrow,’ who was the best Iranian archer of ancient times. To settle a land dispute, it was stipulated that Arash should ascend Mount Damavand, and discharge an arrow whose landing location would determine the boundary between the two kingdoms, Iran and Turan. Arash climbed the mountain, and discharged an arrow, the flight of which continued from the dawn of day until noon. The arrow finally fell on the banks of the Jeyhun (the Oxus), and the boundaries of Iran expanded beyond all expectations, resulting in the inclusion of multiple cultures into the nation. This development led to the birth of Tirgan festival, a celebration of diversity.

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